Volunteers help the vulnerable

The Westlake home based carers. From left Nicci Woodbridge, Boniswa Koti, Francis van Wyk, Sylvia Dimala, Fiona Jonas, Marcia Stuurman, Lawrence Tapfumanyi, Austin Mwale, Charne Gordon and Ronel Poole.
Volunteers are going door-to-door to help vulnerable families in Westlake during the national lockdown. 

The carers are part of the Westlake United Church Trust’s (WUCT) disaster-relief plan, which is supported by various sponsors, including Church of Holy Spirit, Tokai Methodist Church, Xchange Connexion and Sharing Our Ubuntu Legacy. 

They do home visits every morning, performing health checks, handing out safety precautions pamphlets and doing bed washes if needed.
“We have always assisted the community in times of disaster,” says the trust’s Veloshni Baker, acting general manager at WUCT .

The team falls under essential health-care services during the lockdown. It is made up of  driver Austin Mwale; project manager Nicci Woodbridge; nurse co-ordinator Lawrence Tapfumaneyi; and home based carers: Ronel Poole, Sylvia Dimala, Thembeka Manyane, Fiona Jonas, Marcia Stuurman, Boniswa Koti, Zaidie Cloete, Nozipho Mantshinga, Francis van Wyk and Charne Gordon.

The public Benefit Organisation charity serving the needs of Westlake in the areas of Home Based Care, also has a child-protection unit, a pre-school (Emmanuel Educare) and an advice office that helps with admin and community queries. 

It is closed due to lockdown, but it continues fundraising online to assist the vulnerable, who are specifically members of their group therapy programmes for children, adults with lifestyle diseases such as HIV and TB, and senior citizens. 

The carers are also distributing aid parcels of food, soap, sanitiser and baby formula during their home visits through Ward 71s Covid-19 Disaster Response Programme (“Teaming up to reach out,” Constantiaberg Bulletin, April 2). 

The food parcels contain basic foods and soap, sanitiser and baby formula. 

Home-based carer Ronel Poole said helping others made her feel good. 

“When I visit homes, I feel good when I help the people and see their joyful expressions. They are so appreciative as they are hungry, but it makes me sad when I see people not following the rules of lockdown and walking on the streets. When we tell them to go home, they argue with us.

We are risking our lives and our families’ lives going out to serve others. Please, Westlake residents, I urge you to stay at home. The houses are too close. If one of you gets infected then it will spread fast. This is a terrible disease. It is serious.

If one of our team is infected, we have to stop our services and self-quarantine. Help us by washing your hands, physical distancing and following safety precautions.” 

The WUCT Disaster Relief Plan thanks amongst many of their sponsors and supporters Church of Holy Spirit, Tokai Methodist Church, Xchange Connexion and Sharing Our Ubuntu Legacy. 

To donate and get regular updates, email veloshni@wuct.org.za and visit www.wuct.org.za